Feminist Futures?: Theatre, Performance, Theory (Performance by Geraldine Harris, Elaine Aston

By Geraldine Harris, Elaine Aston

This can be a well timed contribution to the debates concerning destiny probabilities for feminism, theater, and function. an exceptional, cross-generational mixture of theater students (Sue-Ellen Case, Dee Heddon, Meenakshi Ponnuswami, Janelle Reinelt, Joanne Tompkins) and practitioners (Anna Furse, Leslie Hill and Helen Paris, SuAndi) interact in vigorous, state-of-the-art serious debates on subject matters that come with citizenship, autobiography, cultural background and politcal company as circulating in modern feminism and function.

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Above all, it reassures its Western viewers of the desirability of Western values and opportunities for women. The film thus offers one version of a narrative of Westernness and modernity in which the assertion of a woman’s rights is represented as being incompatible with allegiance to the racial or ancestral past. This formula is of course routinely invoked by ethnic absolutists, religious leaders and other regressive patriarchal forces to condemn feminism as a decadent practice, but it is also an unexpectedly frequent refrain in ostensibly progressive discourses which appeal to feminism in order to extol Western values.

David Savran, a gay performance scholar, has commented that he sees Vogel’s work as dramatizing women who ‘sustain powerful psychic identification with men’. 195). For these reasons, the play is very controversial – among feminists particularly, for whom Uncle Peck seems to be getting away with something, and for fear that spectators in the theatre might seem to be witnesses taking pleasure in incestuous representation. For in order to represent Li’l Bit as ambivalent about the sexual feelings she’s experiencing, the audience must be allowed that ambivalence as well.

213–35. 18. 231. 11 Stanlie M. 7. 190–233. 2. 14 Like Haraway’s thinking, Butler’s ideas have had a profound impact on feminist theatre and performance practice and criticism largely because her ideas appear to pertain directly to these fields of cultural production (not least because when articulating strategies of ‘subversive repetition’ of the sex/gender system, she points to examples of (theatrical) drag performance). 15 Andy Medhurst, ‘Camp’, in Andy Medhurst and Sally R. 283. 56–7. 16 Feminist Futures?

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